WARNER ROBINS — The Georgia Department of Economic Development will wrap up a three-day tour of the state with international reporters today. The tour, paid for by Georgia state funds, sought to introduce foreign reporters to the state’s aerospace industry. After spending Monday touring Lockheed Martin company offices in Atlanta and Georgia Tech’s Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, much of the tour’s events Tuesday focused on Warner Robins, including a guided tour of the Museum of Aviation near Robins Air Force Base.
Five reporters — from publications in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy — participated in the tour. The goal was “to raise awareness of Georgia’s attractiveness” to aerospace companies, said Georgia Department of Economic Development spokeswoman Alison Tyrer.
“We think there’s no better way than a first-hand look,” Tyrer said.
The event was pushed by Gov. Sonny Perdue during a trip to the United Arab Emirates last fall for the Dubai Air Show.
Flights into the United States, lodging, food and transportation costs were all paid for with state funds, appropriated by the Georgia legislature for just that purpose, Tyrer said. The trip was financed by Perdue’s “Global Georgia” initiative, which was commissioned to lure international businesses to Georgia. Tyrer could not provide the exact cost of the tour.
The trip comes at a time when lawmakers in Atlanta consider massive spending cuts to balance the state’s budget.
The recession has trimmed state tax receipts, forcing furloughs and layoffs of government employees. State lawmakers are considering Perdue’s 2011 budget proposal, which is more than $1 billion smaller than his 2010 budget.
A message left with Perdue’s press office seeking a comment was not returned.
To contact writer Thomas L. Day, call 744-4489.